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Using IoT to help protect the U.S. food supply

Michelle Davidson | Dec. 7, 2016
Lineage Logistics uses IoT temperature and vibration sensors from Monnit Corp. to protect billions of pounds of warehoused food and cut energy costs

The cost would be more if Lineage didn’t follow a process that allows it to purchase power when it’s cheap. The company buys power when the cost is low and pre-cools the warehouse. Then when the cost for power is expensive, they turn off the refrigeration. 

“I have these giant frozen warehouses filled with water-based substances. I can turn off the refrigeration system, close the doors to our insulated structure, and the temperature will move only half a degree, which is pretty low,” Wolf said. 

He couldn’t do that, though, if he didn’t have temperature sensors monitoring the warehouses. 

“Imagine us, especially in southern California, which has massive intra-day power swings, we want to very precisely schedule to take advantage of that as much as possible,” Wolf said. “Now imagine, though, in doing that I’m thermocycling several billion dollars’ worth of food. I wouldn’t dare do that unless I had a sensor every 10 feet, making sure we were absolutely safe.” 

Wolf said the process allows Lineage to turn its power bill into a profit center while ensuring the food is protected.

“The grid has this problem of too much renewables [creating surplus energy]. We have a solution in that thermally we can, with a reasonably high amount of impunity, decide when we consume power,” he said. “So, you follow the chain of what you need to have to take advantage of that capability—and sensors everywhere is high on the list.”

 

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